Best Hybrid Bikes Reviews: A Buyer’s guide to find what you need
For those of you who use their bikes for commuting, recreational, and occasional racing purposes, you ought to look out for the best hybrid bikes out there. These bikes are affordable – a quality which makes them a darling of students.
Moreover, thanks to their versatility, these bikes are good enough to handle any type of terrain with little to no fuss. Finally, thanks to the stability which they offer, the comfort which they provide, and the ease of use which is on offer, the best hybrid bikes are a must-have if you want to fall in love with the sport.
But, you might ask, what are the indicators you need to identify to pin down the best hybrid bikes out there? Scroll down.
What is a hybrid bike?
If you have read carefully, the hint is in the name: hybrid. Being hybrid of a standard mountain bike and a road bike, these bikes seem to have plucked out the best features of both bikes while leaving out the riffraff.
The frame of any hybrid bike will have a small top tube and a tall head tube. This geometry allows the rider to sit in an upright position, soothing any strain on your shoulders and neck. Also, you could get a tube which is sloped vertically downwards on the bike’s front, a feature which makes it easier for the rider to get off and on with ease.
Another feature – one that stems from the first one – is the flat handlebars. This again allows the rider to sit in an upright position, with their weight shifted on the handlebar.
Finally, talking about the tires, the best hybrid bikes have tires ranging from road to mountain bikes. In quantitative terms, the width ranges from 28mm to 42mm. As you might guess, this much grip provides stability on rough surfaces and grip when the surface is wet.
Types of hybrid bike
Unlike the road bikes, all the hybrid bikes might not be the best one for you. That is to say that the bike which might suit someone might not be the best fit for you.
So, assuming that your travel takes you through cycle paths and roads, go for a road-specific hybrid bike. Apart from the flat handlebar – which have been added to give the riders a comfortable riding position – and the slick tires, these bikes have the same features as you might get from any road bike.
For those of you who are going to ride on difficult terrains, it’s better to go with a hybrid bike which offers a suspension fork. As one might guess, the suspension fork will preclude the vibrations to improve comfort. Also, this kind of bikes has slightly wider tires to provide the much needed extra grip on rough terrains.
Does the Material of Construction matters?
In simple words: Yes! Mostly, hybrid bikes are made from one of the three materials: aluminum, carbon, or steel. All of them have their own pros and cons. Let’s take a look.
Firstly, the least used MOC is steel. The employment of steel imparts these bikes with such a stability which is unrivaled. However, if you are gunning for stability, remember that steel hybrid bikes will provide it at the cost of comfort. For, with steel, the bike will get heavy and it would be difficult to haul it over the hill.
When it comes to aluminum hybrid bikes, they mostly range from $200 – $1500. These bikes are light, provide a comfortable ride, but are less stable than aluminum bikes. The lack of stability comes from the decreases in weight – which is a forte of aluminum hybrid bikes.
Finally, if you have VERY deep pockets, you could go for a carbon hybrid bike. As one might guess, these bikes are brilliant when it comes to the translation of power you apply through your feet and the rotation of pedals.
Features to expect
As one might tell, you will only get what you’ll pay for. That is, if you pay astronomical amounts, you’ll get a bike which would offer better quality in shifting, a comfortable sitting position, suspension forks, and minimum effort to shift gears.
Provided that you are only using your bike for office use, the above-mentioned criteria should become of secondary concern. Rather, you should focus on the range of gears. Moreover, for those of you living in hilly areas, watch out for a 32 tooth sprocket which located at the rear of the bike. This would allow you to schmooze your way up with minimum effort.
When you’ll go looking for hybrid bikes, it is likely that you’d find bikes which either have a rim or a disc brake. Both these brakes differ in their operating principle. Rim brakes, as the name suggests, grip the rim via two pads which encapsulate it. As for the disc brakes, they use a rotor for the same purpose.
Talking about their effectiveness, it goes without saying that disc brakes are the best on offer. While they are difficult to adjust, these brakes offer the best braking power. Also, unlike rim brakes, they provide more consistent performances on both dry and wet terrains.
Another feature to watch out for is the saddle. If you use it for long distance traveling, it is better to get padded cycling shorts. For, they will improve your comfort factor. However, provided that you’d use it only for office going, a standard padded saddle should do the job.
Finally, you need to watch out for the pedals. Ruthlessly speaking, the first thing you should do after the bike has arrived is to throw out the pedals which come with it. Afterward, invest in a pair recommended by the experts.
Any Additional features?
As their name suggest, the “additional” features are mainly for luxury. However, there are also instances – depending on how you intend to use the bike – when they turn into a necessity.
Consider panniers, for example. To the ordinary user – who use his bike only to go to the office, pannier might seem a luxury. However, for those who have to carry a bag or heavy items to work, a pannier is a necessity.
Also, while you are at it, try to find a hybrid bike where the clearance between the tire and frame is considerable. This much clearance would come handy in two instances: it would allow you to fit mudguards, or it could be used to fit eyelets.
Hybrid Bikes: Drivetrain options
There are three drivetrain options: derailleur gear system, hub gears, and belt drive. Let’s take a comparative look at each of them.
Talking about the most common hybrid bikes, almost all of them use the now prevalent derailleur gear system. If you don’t know what it is, a derailleur is a gear changing device on your bike. A derailleur gear system comprises of four elements: a rear cassette, a crankset which is a combination of pedals and cranks, a chain to link cranks with pedals and a derailleur device which moves the chain.
There are alternatives to the derailleur gear system. One such alternative is the hub gear. They derive their name from the location in which they are housed – the rear wheel’s hub. This drivetrain provides options ranging from three to eight gears. Despite being expensive, this system offers numerous benefits in comparison with derailleur gear system. The hub gears last longer, require little maintenance and protected.
In addition to the above two, belt drives are yet another drivetrain option. As the name suggests, the belt drives have a belt in place of a chain. The belt does the same function done by the chain in the above-mentioned drivetrain options.
Hybrid bikes for commuting
Depending on the terrain where you are going to commute, different types of hybrid bikes are on offer. Let’s suppose that your bike is going to carry you over a rough terrain. In this case, the hybrid bike should have front suspension forks to streamline the jolts which it is going to receive during the journey.
However, if the road is OK and you want to be speedy, go for a hybrid bike which has narrow tires, a lightweight frame (probably aluminum or carbon), and flat handlebars.
Finally, if you want to carry a lot of stuff for your journey, invest in a hybrid bike which also offers a pannier.
Accessories for hybrid bikes
When we say that the hybrid bikes are versatile, their versatility stems from the number of accessories which are either attached in advance or can be added in future.
One such accessory is a pannier. As stated already, a pannier would allow the rider to carry a lot of stuff with ease. However, if you feel that the products you are carrying are delicate – and need extra care, attach a basket to the handlebar. These baskets – which might be wicker or wire, are also easy to fit.
If you are going to use your bike for traveling at night, bike lights are a must. If you are a geek, you could attach a bike computer to track down the miles your bike has covered on its last ride. Finally, if you want to ensure your bike remains with you, having a good quality bike lock is a must.
Alternatives to hybrid bikes
If you feel that the area in which you live isn’t safe, owning a folding bike could have its advantages. Moreover, if your work route involves traveling by trains, you could fold these bikes and unfold them when you hit the road. On the negative side, they aren’t as quick as hybrid bikes.
Electric bikes seem to have become the norm these days. These bikes come with an integrated electric motor which supplies the power from pedal to the wheels – resulting in better speed. However, before you go for them, check out local codes. For, nearly every country has code regarding the speed limit of an E-bike
Comprising of a chain guard, a step-through frame, huge handlebars, front baskets (mostly), and a stand, these bikes aren’t in much vogue till date. However, when one looks at their features, they might get in vogue in the future.
If you are planning to cover a lot of distance while carrying a considerable amount of luggage, you need to look out for the touring bikes. While they come in many categories, the most common ones are hybrid-types which have a drop handlebar.
While you could use them for commuting purposes, remember that most road bikes don’t have lugs which mean that you cannot attach mudguards. Also, it is entirely possible that the road bike which seems perfect to you might not have the option to attach a pannier. Thus, before you buy it, make sure that it meets your requirements.
Top 10 Best Hybrid Bikes Reviews Under $500
So far in this article, we have tried to acclimatize you with the features you ought to look in the best hybrid bikes. From here on, we would concentrate on providing you the reviews of the ones you could buy for yourself.
Best Hybrid Bikes for Men
For those of you who are familiar with hybrid bikes, the name of Schwinn shouldn’t ring a bell. For, when it comes to hybrid bikes, no company has gained as much rapport among the riders as Schwinn. Hence, over the remaining parts of this article, brace yourself to see this name time and again.
Talking about the features of this particular bike, it offers an aluminum frame supported with a Schwinn suspension fork. While the former will make your bike lighter, the latter would make sure that it can see off the bumps in the road with aplomb. However, as the price tag of this bike suggests, both these features will come at a hefty price.
As for the gears, this bike offers 21 of them. Moreover, to make sure you could shift between them with ease, the gears have been supplanted with Shimano EZ Fire shifters. If you drive in high traffic hours and have to accelerate and decelerate numerous times, this feature is a must-have for you.
To support the aluminum frame which is stable but lightweight, the alloy rims are strong and lightweight. One thing which impressed me the most with this bike was its seat. Usually, even for the best hybrid bikes for men, the seats are nigh to torturing.
However, this one, which is supported by springs and is adjustable, is brilliant and allows the rider to maintain an upright position. The seat is aided in this context by the bent-back handlebars.
- Suspension fork to see out road bumps with aplomb
- 21-speed rear derailleur to see off road traffic
- Comfortable seat
- Bent-back handlebars give the rider the perfect upright position while riding
- Price is too expensive
Talking about the best hybrid bikes under $500, this one is perhaps the costliest. However, if you can afford it – and are allured by its features, nobody can stop you.
To be fair with Northwoods, the bike manufacturer is still miles behind Schwinn when it comes to the popularity of its bikes. However, when it comes to usefulness and the price of its bikes, Northwoods have done really well to give its competitors a run for their money.
Just like the Schwinn Men’s Network, this one also falls into the category of the best hybrid bikes under $500. Going one step ahead, its price is on the lower side. However, when you look at its features, particular the seat – with its low center of gravity – this bike isn’t far behind.
While the handlebars are spread in the outward direction, the low C of G seat allows the rider to sit in an upright position. For the gears, there are 21 of them, albeit, with a difficult shifting mechanism. To make it a perfect fit for commuting purposes, a rear attack has been attached to the bike. Also, to protect the wheels, fenders are attached on both of them. As for the brakes, Northwoods have gone with the traditional linear pull mechanism. Although not the best in business, these brakes will do the job.
Finally, the seat of this bike seems troubling to me. Though it has a low C of G – as indicated above, it isn’t the most comfortable in the world.
- Low Price
- 21-speed gear speed system
- Comes with a rear rack
- Wheels are protected by fenders
- Seat has a low Center of Gravity, giving the rider a stable riding position
- Seat is borderline torturous
If you are looking for a hybrid bicycle whose price tag falls in the lower echelon – but still fulfills the basic criteria of best hybrid bike for men, this one deserves your attention.
Unlike the aforementioned Schwinn bike, this bike is more inclined to be used for commuting purposes. Coming with a rear rack, an urban retro frame, and fenders on both wheels, this bike, though costly, deserves the price tag.
Let’s start the inspection of this bike from the top. The handlebars – as you’d expect from any Schwinn bike, are bent back. The seat is supported by springs. However, on first glance, it seemed to me that it resembled more with any road bike that that of a hybrid bike which has been designed for commuting purposes.
Another notable feature is the brakes. They are made up of allow and are attached to both front and rear tires. This means that if the road is slippery and you’re worried, these brakes would bail you out in the time of emergency.
Pedals are high speed and the upper side of the chain is protected by a chain guard. The frame, though not the best, would still do the job. Finally, if you are worried that this bike would ditch you midway through the journey, it offers a lifetime warranty to assuage your worst fears.
- Lifetime warranty
- Front and rear brakes
- Front and rear fenders
- Chain protector
- The rear derailleur is poor.
As suggested above, you’d have to change the rear derailleur if you want your ride to be comfortable. Feel like it?
For those of you who stand tall – from 5’9’’ to 6’2’’ – and are looking for, this bike from Giordano is a godsend. Coming with an aluminum frame, it would hold your weight no matter how huge you are. Complimenting the frame is the form which is made up of steel to allow the bike to get pass the road bumps with ease.
The handlebar is stretched in the outward direction with rubber pads protecting the rider hands. The seat – which seems aligned to the handlebars in height, has no springs but is adjustable. Moreover, the lack of padding could also be a concern if you want to use it for riding long distances.
There is a bottle handler attached closer to the underside of the frame allowing you to carry your drinks. For the downside, the brakes squeak all the time and the pedals do not seem to compliment the huge size of this bike.
Moreover, as you will know by looking at it, this bike cannot be used for commuting purposes. Rather, if you want to impress your neighborhood with the speed of a bike, this is surely that one.
- 21-speed gear
- Stable and well built
- Ideal for tall persons
- Brakes are squeaky
As hinted above, this bike is a hybrid-cum-road bike. With an immaculate speed, well-built frame, impressive gears but less impressive brakes.
On my first glance of this bike, I thought that the seat would trouble me. However, as soon as I took it out for a ride, the springs which are located on the rear side of the seat helped quelled my fears. Apart from the seat, one thing which impressed me the most was the effectiveness of the suspension fork.
As you might know, suspension forks generally come on bikes who are priced in the upper range of $500. However, in addition to providing them at such a low price, Schwinn doesn’t seem to have compromised on their quality. Thumbs up from me.
Now for the downside. An impression which you might get – well, I did, from its rear carrier is that this bike has been designed for cycling long distances. However, when one looks at the position of the seat – and rides on it, this impression goes begging. For, with a pretty high C of G, this bike doesn’t provide the rider with a low C of G. Hence, while the handlebars are swept back – a must-have for a stable ride, Schwinn could have done more by lowering the height of this seat.
- Brilliant suspension fork
- Comfortable seat thanks to the “almost” invisible springs
- 21-speed SRAM grip shifters
- A rear derailleur from Shimano to keep you moving forward
- Lack of stable upright riding position
If you won’t use this bike for riding long distances, the absence of upright riding position won’t trouble your back. Hence, for those of you who meet this “criterion”.
For those of you who use their bike for office use – with an occasional road trip on the weekends, this bike should catch your eye. Coming under the brand name of Schwinn, it comes at a considerable price but offers a wide range of features.
The first feature – which is a must-have in any Schwinn bike, is the aluminum frame. As the MOC will tell you, this bike is NOT designed for cycling long distances. Rather, if you want to accelerate rapidly when traffic is building around you, it is the one.
Talking about speed and to maintain it this bike has been supplanted with the 21-speed rear derailleur. Also, to make sure you use all of them, it contains the Shimano EZ fire shifters. Finally, in our quest for speed, the lean but strong tires won’t stop you from leaving the crowd behind.
The brakes are provided on both the front and rear tires whereas the handlebars are swept back, hoping to give the rider an upright riding position. However, unless you’re fairly tall, I doubt that you could get such riding position from this bike.
Finally, its exterior is beautiful. Though sullied by a few traces of red, the all black color pattern seemed brilliant to me.
- Suspension fork and 21-speed rear derailleur
- Thin tires to help you maintain speed
- Aluminum frame to offer you a quick yet stable ride
- Brakes on both tires
- Pretty costly
For those of you who are looking for the best hybrid bikes under $500, this one *just* fulfills that criteria.
The first entry from Diamondback in our review and it is an absolute beast. Well, not in terms of size but in terms of speed. For, the first thing men look for in the best hybrid bikes for men is speed and boy do this one runs fast.
For, thanks to its 21-speed drivetrain, the 7 EZ fire shifters, the Kenda Cross tires, and the front suspension, this bike allows its rider to move forward at a breathtaking speed. Also, to make sure you don’t get back pain while you are riding, the low Center of Gravity of the seat – combined with the height of its handlebars – do brilliantly to save you from nuisance.
Moreover, to make sure you could stop at will, this bike has been supplanted with front and rear brakes. Though not the best in business, they would do their job with aplomb.
On the downside, the shape of the handlebars does not do justice to its “nuisance free riding” tag. For, despite the low height of the seat, the handlebars are spread in the outward direction, making it difficult for the rider to attain an upright riding position.
Other than that, this bike doesn’t have too many shortcomings
- Offers you the opportunity to go forward at breathtaking speed
- Suspension fork will last an eternity
- Tires are suited to both on and off-road terrains
- 700c wheels for smooth rolling
- handlebars are spread in the outward direction, making it difficult for the rider to attain an upright riding position
If you want to leave your friends behind while riding, there is no reason this bike doesn’t deserve your money.
Best Hybrid Bikes for Women
In the aforementioned section, we reviewed for you the best hybrid bikes for men. Now, it’s the turn of the ladies as we’re going to shed light on the best hybrid bikes for women. Take a look.
Before taking a look at the features of this bike, let me warn you of one thing: this bike isn’t the mint color shown on Amazon. Rather, the color is a sage mint i.e. bit on the dry side. Hence, before you go out and order it, take a look at its various pictures from across the Internet.
Now to the fun part. Like most women hybrid bikes, it has 7 gears. Thus, if you are going to use this bike for office purposes only – with a few recreational trips thrown in, these gears ARE NOT for you. However, if you have to climb over steeper hills using your bike, this bike definitely deserves a try.
As for the frames and the tires, both of them complement each other. For, while the frame is thin, the tires are even thinner, allowing the rider to slalom past other bikes with ease. Moreover, as for the brakes, the rear brakes – which you’ll use more often than not – are pretty effective. Finally, this bike comes with both rear and front fenders to help you to go past muddy terrains without getting dirty.
Also, the seat is pretty low in comparison to the handlebars which are bent back. Consequently, you’ll be allowed to have a flat back while riding, resulting in fewer back pains.
- Offers the rider an upright riding position
- Best for traveling around hilly areas
- Fenders to save you from getting dirty
- Quick speed thanks to thin frame and even thinner tires
- The assembly of this bike is a mess.
If you feel that fixing the assembly of this bike won’t be a difficult task for you – which I really doubt – this bike deserves a place in your garage.
Although this bike isn’t as famous among the ladies as the previous one, it got its entry into the best hybrid bikes for women just for one reason: gears.
Mostly, when you go out to purchase women bikes, you’d likely come across bikes which are single speed, or at most, those which are supplanted with seven gears. This one, however, has got 21 speeds for those women who love to have fun.
Moreover, as the rack on its back might suggest, this bike has been built for commuting purposes. There is that great little space between the upper and lower tubes of the frame where you could hang a bottle holder. Also, to make sure your back doesn’t ache while you’re going long distances, the seat of this bike – which has a low Center of Gravity – is brilliantly designed.
Thus, whether Northwoods could have done better with the handlebars – which are spread in the outward direction instead of being bent-back, this bike gets a thumbs up from me.
- Brilliant seat
- Comes with a rack
- Front and rear fenders
- The color might allow this bike to get dirty relatively easily
It is safe to say that when it comes to the best women hybrid bikes, the name of Northwoods isn’t right up there among the best brands. However, as this bike suggests, Northwoods have the ability to defy the odds.
When it comes to the best women hybrid bikes, none of them is as costly as this one. However, as you’d testify after reading its features, this bike deserves its price tag.
For, instead of giving it a low C of G, Schwinn have lowered the frame brilliantly to allow the rider to sit in an upright position. Combine that with the comfortable seat and the bent back handlebars and you have a treat in your hands.
In the rear tire, there is a Schwinn suspension fork which gives this bike the ability to see off bumps and bruises with aplomb. Moreover, since the tires aren’t huge, the 21-speed gear shifters would allow you to speed this bike to the maximum. However, for those of you who remain stuck in traffic with their bikes, these 21 speeds might not be as handy as for those who’d use this bike for purely recreational and commuting purposes.
Another notable feature of this bike – one which isn’t the norm, is the lifestyle warranty. However, to avail it, you’d have to be the first owner of this bike throughout its life. A simple clause, right?
- Comfortable padded seat
- 21 speeds to allow you to leave past other riders
- Bike response maximized by the suspension fork in the rear tire
- An alloy crankset
- Fenders on both wheels
- Very expensive
Most of the time, the price tag is the only hindrance between us and our dream product. However, if you have enough deep pockets, this bike merits your attention.
Comfort Bike Vs Hybrid Bike: The Differences
Some people assume that there is no difference between comfort and hybrid bikes. Since both bikes offer comfort to the rider and are a variation of road and mountain bikes, these people assume that both the bikes are the same.
This isn’t true for there are many basic differences between comfort and hybrid bikes. However, these differences are so technical that unless the salesperson isn’t knowledgeable about bikes, he would be at sea to explain you. Still, when it comes to performance, these difference makes a huge difference. Hence, it is necessary for you to be cognizant of these differences to find out which bike – comfort or hybrid – would fulfil your purpose.
Ride style: If you are planning to cover short distances, want to mitigate the impact of shocks along the way and are looking for a bike which provides leisurely rides, comfort bikes are the best. However, if you are looking for a bike to cover long distances, want to climb hills, and want it to be light, hybrid bikes deserve your choice. For, the best comfort bikes are heavier and sturdier than hybrid bikes and unlike hybrid bikes they are NOT designed to cover long distances.
Suspension Post: Both these bikes have suspension features. Where they differ is how these features operate. In case of hybrid bikes, suspension features just go long enough to mitigate the vibrations which might arise in your bike. The best Comfort bikes, conversely, not only mitigate these vibrations but also take the sting out of bumps which comes along the way.
Tires: Since hybrid bikes are designed for speed, they have borrowed their tires from road bikes in a sense that they have 700cc road tires. These tires are different from those used in comfort bikes because the latter ones are thicker to provide comfort, and not speed. Also, when it comes to tread, the hybrid bikes’ tires have a smaller tread then their comfort bike counterparts.
Another point of difference is the pressure of air in the tires. Since they are to achieve high speeds, hybrid bikes’ tires have high pressure. On the contrary, comfort bikes tires have high Volume which allows them to expand and absorb the vibrations coming out from the road.
Frame: While aluminum is in the vogue these days, you’ll still see bikes which use the old fashioned steel for sturdiness. These bikes are undoubtedly comfort bikes. For, since speed is not a matter, the heaviness of steel isn’t of any concern to the rider. However, since speed is the be all and end all of hybrid bikes, their frames are mostly made up of aluminum and are also lighter.
Seats: While hybrid bike manufacturers might suggest otherwise, the fact that their seats aren’t as comfortable as comfort bikes cannot be negated. Again, speed is the decisive factor here. For, you are NOT sitting in a fully upright position on a comfort bike. Rather, your position is more back-friendly. On the contrary, hybrid bikes offer upright positions which is necessary for the rider to inject more force in his feet to pedal vigorously.
Pedals: In most cases, the pedals of both these bikes are the same. Still, you’ll find some comfort bikes which are difficult to pedal because their focus is on providing comfort and not speed to the bike. On the other hand, the lightness of hybrid bikes approaches that of road bikes.
Handlebars: As we have stated earlier, the best comfort bikes offer an upright position that is easy on your back. This is where the handlebar comes into play. While the difference isn’t visible to the naked eye, the handlebars of comfort bikes are perched slightly higher to those used in hybrid bikes. For, by positioning the handlebars higher, these bikes offer its riders a more laid back riding position than what is available to them in hybrid bikes.
So, Which Bike is Right for You?
Again, it all depends on your preference. If you want a bike which takes you long distances with great effort, which offers good speed, is equally efficient over climbing uphill and going on simple terrains, has tires which complement the effort that you are putting in the pedals, and offers a bit (not lot) of comfort, hybrid bikes deserve your hard earned money.
Conversely, if you want a bike which can take you on leisurely rides, offers great comfort, takes the life out of the road bumps, has a riding style which doesn’t hurt your back, has a frame which is sturdy enough to see out any and every bump which the road might throw up, but offers little speed, you need to spend your money on the best comfort bikes out there.
Choosing the best hybrid bikes was a tall order for us. For, in addition to making sure that we chose the best hybrid bikes – both for men and women – we have to keep their price tags in check. Thankfully, as the aforementioned reviews might tell, we’ve been able to do just that. However, if you feel that we have missed some hybrid bikes which should have been here in this review, please feel free to give your suggestions in the comment box.